Monsters

Saturday May 9 2015 (afternoon)

Hey Journal,

Oh God, what a mess. Looking at my screwed up previous page, you would think today’s report could only be better. Right ?

Wrong, it got worse. Not in terms of style (thank god I got all my neurons back!) but the content…

I should have seen it coming. The nightmare I had that night was a sign. Like I said (or rather wrote? :S) I struggled for what seemed like hours to keep up with both G-Dragon and T.O.P. until I realized my eyes had been closed for a while and I couldn’t open them anymore. The last thing I remember before I sank further in dreamland are hands, I don’t know whose, taking away my laptop from me and putting a blanket on my shoulders. I remember I asked myself what I was going to do when the boys would be gone.

Then the building collapsed and, although my eyelids were closed, it felt as if they opened again. I was running into the streets, dizzy, with the police running after me and the boys ahead of me, killing everybody at sight. My mother was on her knees on the sidewalk, crying, telling the police that I was with them and what a shame I was to my family. I tried to steal a car and drive away from the city on fire (without keys, oddly enough) but it crashed after barely a few feet. So I had no choice but to get out and keep running after the boys and away from the cops until one my legs broke like porcelain and I fell flat on my face. A young angel was watching me from above with a blank expression. Then I saw he had Joseph’s face and I crawled towards him to hide myself in his big arms. As he flew away with me, he suddenly grabbed me by the neck and strangled me with his warm smile. When I stopped moving, he turned completely human and walked to the boys. We were now on a different location, they were stuck in a cage and as small as toddlers. When he saw me wriggle on the ground, choking against the corner of the room we were in, he came back and sat on top of me as he approached his clawed hands closer and closer to my eyes while I struggled to get him off. When I lightly jumped and snapped open my eyes, I saw I was still alive and I had been kicking the blanket off me which had landed on the ground in a ball. The whole place smelled like a kennel, of sweat, dirt and metal, and I heard soft snores in the morning light. Unfortunately, today was not a dream. I remembered in a micro-second that I DID escape and the boys WERE with me, sprawled out everywhere in my mother’s living room. And now I WAS stuck there, hiding from Joseph. Thank god the boys were all still sleeping, even Top and GD.

First things first. Since I was the only one awake, I took the opportunity to take a look in the kitchen and inspect the fridge and cupboards. Of course, because Mum and Kwan had been gone for three weeks, the fridge was turned off and everything was empty, except for a half-full box of rice in the smallest cupboard. Fantastic T_T

My poor little stomach was starting to grumble since I hadn’t eaten since yesterday morning O_O I took a moment to think, then admitted I had no choice but to let the guys alone while I went shopping so we would all have something to eat when they wake up. So I quickly changed and stepped carefully over their bodies (some of them had fallen on the carpet; it didn’t seem to have woken them up at all :P) to take my purse and keys, then tiptoed very slowly towards the entrance door, so silently I almost jumped to the ceiling when one of them turned and grunted in his sleep (Good Lord, Seungri, even in your sleep, you’re annoying ><).

Then I was out. Oh my God, it felt so good to be out in the morning fresh air! On my own! I was free :D ! At last! Only for half an hour though -_- But that thought didn’t bother me at all as I took a deep breath and almost danced in the streets towards the store in front of passers-by whose eyes went from regular cloudy-not-a-morning-person-please-don’t-talk-to-me-I-bite to stunned-amazed-and-a-little-afraid when I walked/danced passed them with a big grin on my face O_O. Yeepee Yay, that was the best morning of my life :P

Of course, when I arrived at the supermarket and faced all the flashing signs I couldn’t read no matter how big and full of exclamation points they were, my euphoria level soon dropped back to 20%-10% -_-. And it nearly dropped to zero when I looked at the packages of spicy this and dehydrated that on the shelves, looking for the English part of the etiquettes, as usual: some of them didn’t even have it X( !

Although Joseph and I couldn’t eat stuff in Korea like cornbread or meatloaf unless we imported it (resulting in a long, tedious and expansive wait) or bought it already-made (rare, expensive and with a disappointing taste), we both usually still stuck to the westerner lunch style with one big meal, forks and knives and desserts (especially strawberry cake :P). Yet I know how to use chopsticks and I saw Joseph cook Korean cuisine once in a while when he was not too tired, since it’s usually quite longer to prepare. So I had only a vague idea of what a “typical” Korean lunch was like. I knew that, unlike Americans, the boys and our Korean colleagues usually would have lots of small plates so they could pick a piece of this and that here and there, even for breakfast. Right?

First, I picked extra pairs of chopsticks and looked for all the food in promotion. And since I was so tired of rice, I decided to skip it and go for instant noodles and marinated vegetables (I think it’s called Kimchi) instead. I also bought pork ribs (Galbi), barbecued beef (Bulgogi) and chicken and fish to be sure the boys would at least eat one thing! I also bought packet soups and sweets. Every quantity was multiplied by six, of course.

When the young cashier saw me coming with all my packs of meat and marinated stuff, I thought she was going to have a heart attack. She passed all my items without a word in rhythm punctuated by the endless “Bleep!” of her machine as everything kept piling up at the other end of the counter in a tiny mountain. I wish I could have joked about what a busy mom I am and how grumpy my kids get when they don’t have a proper breakfast but I still lack cruelly of vocabulary T^T Thank god I had enough money and the sentences I had to learn for my trip at the mall still worked there (although I barely articulate them better). And so I left with a dozen of bags on each arm and quickly walked away from the rest of the queue who was getting more and more impatient behind me. Show some mercy, Korea ><

When I arrived, the apartment was still silent and I thought the boys had still not awoken. My God, who would have thought they were such heavy sleepers! However, when I entered the living-room after I dropped my things in the kitchen, I saw none of them was there. And that was not the worse: the TV was smoking, the coffee table was broken in two and the couch and armchairs were torn apart and upside down. My heart skipped a beat and time stopped for a second. Then, hearing the sound of voices coming from the hall, I ran towards it and saw all the boys bending over the narrow balcony from the bedroom, trying to reach for something as they were all stretching their arms as hard as they could towards it. The French window was broken and there were shattered glass with specks of blood all over the frame. As I stepped over it and came to the boys who parted to let me through, I withheld a gasp when I saw Taeyang hanging from the balustrade, the joints of his hands scratched and whitened from their tight grip on the iron bars and his legs dangling above the five other floors, his hands hanging low and his arms shaking. A few passers-by on the sidewalk had also stopped to stare at the scene. I couldn’t let more of them gather under our shelter without risking to look suspicious. What if they called the police?

“Taeyang, look at me. Taeyang!” I called his name with a shaky voice, trying hard not to panic.

When he raised his head and our eyes met, his face lit with a smile and he muttered something, “Nuna” or something like that.

However, he then looked down again and shut his eyes.

“No! No, Taeyang, look at me. It’s me. Joan. Joan-sshi!” I called out again in a softer voice and made him raise his head again. “It’s okay, Taeyang. Look at me. Take my hand.” I said and extended mine towards his.

However, he didn’t take it, looking away as my hand came closer to him.

“Taeyang, come on. Take it!” I said, but he didn’t move. “Take it, please!”

“Jam-Kan-Man!” I then heard G-Dragon standing next to me shout at him.

We both looked at each other and, as he stared into my eyes directly with his golden ones, he gave me an encouraging nod and I nodded back before I looked down again as his friend who was shaking more and more from the tiredness.

“Taeyang, listen to G-Dragon. Jam-Kan-Man!” I repeated clumsily and the others repeated all around me.

“Jam-Kan-Man!”

“Jam-Kan-Man!”

“Jam-Kan-Man, Taeyang-ah!”

“Come on!” I said and held both hands above his head.

When he finally took them, I suddenly felt violently pulled like a ragdoll over the balustrade until I felt eight strong hands hold me back by the waist and keep me fixed to the ground of the balcony. He was heavy as £ù#k ><! However, the four others soon took hold of his wrists, his shoulders and his waist as he then landed on the tiled floor and we all panted heavily from the shock and efforts.

When I regained my composure, I slapped him hard on his bare shoulder.

“You stupid kid! Why did you do that? Did you try to kill yourself or escape? And you,” I said and turned to the others and threatened them with the palm of my hand as they all stepped back. “Why didn’t you stop him? Why didn’t he let you pull him back?”

“He missed you. He was worried.” Top explained shortly in a calm, neutral tone and I then looked at Taeyang who was rubbing his shoulder, less from the pain than incomprehension from the unexpected violence. The others were glaring at me, both angry and shocked.

I felt a wave of guilt flood over me. It also made me conclude that the six of us definitely needed to start learning English and Korean as soon as possible. I definitely didn’t feel like dealing with that kind of “Welcome back home” every day!

“I’m sorry--” I started softly but then decided to toughen up. “But still, you guys should know better! You ruined half of my mother’s home, you know? And you hurt yourself,” I said as Daesung was now healing Taeyang’s hands. “so you should know you’ll be punished for the rest of the day. First, get out. Then stand in the corners of the hallway and don’t move. I don’t wanna hear any of you for the rest of the day.” I said and pointed at two angles in the hallway outside of the bedroom. “Top, translate.”

He gave me a disdainful look as he translated it all to the four others who then either glared at me like G-Dragon and Taeyang or looked at each other in bewilderment like Seungri and Daesung. I didn’t understand their reactions at first but now, I think it’s pretty understandable. Whenever they acted wrong or did too bad at training, they would be either beaten or electrocuted, sometimes to the point they would faint. Some of them as proud as GD could understand painful treatments but couldn’t take the humiliation of such a low punishment! As for the others, they just didn’t see the point of such a weird command.

However, they did as they were told like good soldiers and stood in front of the corners of the walls in groups of two and three.

Meanwhile, I picked the broken shards of the window, cleaned the blood and covered the gaping hole with a pair of sheets (we do with what we have, okay ><) then walked back to the kitchen, sighing and grumbling as I threw all the glass shards in the garbage. Mum is so gonna kill me when she’s back!! Plus this is not her home, it’s Kwan’s. So both of them are gonna kill me when they’re back!!

When I walked back to the living room with my broom, hand brush and dustpan, Seungri was standing there.

“What are you doing here? Get back to your corner! Go!” I said and shooed him away.

He took a few steps back and disappeared. So I turned my back on the hall, took a garbage bag and threw away the biggest pieces of the TV set. However, I felt a presence in my back and, when I turned around, he was back, smiling sheepishly at me.

“Don’t you dare give me that smile.” I warned him. “No matter how hard you try, I won’t let you or Daesung try to soften me. Punition is punition. Now go away, I’m busy.” I said and pointed at the hall once again.

He obeyed and went to the hall once again. I then took the broom, hand brush and dust pan and swiped the shreds of plastic and glass shreds on the floor. Of course, when I turned, he was at the entrance of the living-room again with his shoulders hunched and an exaggerated sorry face, obviously trying to look cute as hard as he could (which was way less effective than Daesung -_-). Since I couldn’t get rid of him, I rolled my eyes and sighed.

“Fine. You can stay. O-kay.” I articulated to make him understand and he smiled. “BUT don’t touch anything. Or I swear…” I said and showed the place before I waved my hand at him threateningly to which he nodded frantically with a big smile. “And stop with that face. You’re 20 and we both know you’re not autistic.”

Of course, there was no way he could understand that last sentence so I muttered it less to him than to myself. He stood quietly against the wall as I went to one of the armchairs, jumped on it and put it back on his feet thanks to my weight. When I tried to do the same with the second one, I saw he was attentively observing me and came closer when I jumped on it to ake it stand up just like the first one.

“You want to help me?” I asked. “Then do the same with the couch.” I said and pointed at it. “Go on, it’s all yours.”

He smiled as he went to the huge couch, jumped on it and the heavy couch stood back on its feet with a loud “thump”. He looked at me with a proud smile, then pushed it and made it fall back on its back, to which I gave a disapproving look. But soon, when I saw how busy he was pushing it on its feet and back, obviously enjoying himself very much, I let him do as he liked and went on with the rest of the living-room. However, at some point, he stood on the couch on one foot and, when it stood up again, he lost his balance and fell upside-down on the ground as his head hit the wooden floor noisily and his feet stayed vertically in the air for a second like those of a dead bird. He then fell on his back. When he tried to stand up again, he tried to avoid my gaze shamefully but, as he stood up too fast, he immediately fell on the couch again and stayed there, still stunned, in pain and unable to move.

The scene was so unexpected and so cartoonish I couldn’t help but burst out in laughter, which startled him as he then glared at me and slurred Korean bad words (at least I assumed they were bad words :P) which just made me laugh even harder and try to catch my breath.

I guess the both of us must have been pretty loud as the four others soon left the hall and joined us, surprised. Yet when they saw me roar with laughter (ok, I guess I AM loud after all ^^) and Seungri knocked out staring at the ceiling in agony, they started giggling and soon, as Seungri eventually gave in in spite of his increasing headache, the six of us were laughing uncontrollably. Looking at each other’s face was enough to keep the laughter going anytime it was about to die off XD

“So,” I told the boys when I finally calmed down. “if you guys really can’t stand punishment, make yourself useful and help us.” I said and pointed at the broken wooden coffee table before I went back to work.

Eventually, they all helped and soon, everything was nice and clean, except the room was now almost empty except for the carpet, the shredded armchairs and the broken couch. I guess we needed more space anyway.

While we’re at it, I thought, they might as well take a bath because the whole place now stank of sweat, meds and metal >:(

I drew a bath and lead them to the bathroom two by two before I gestured them to take off their clothes, wash on the small wooden chair and then go in the hot tub. I left the room as soon as I was done with my explanations. After all, we are all human beings and though they didn’t seem to be aware of it, I was NOT ready to see so many young men I barely know totally naked in front of me ><.

G-Dragon and Taeyang were the first to start. I took their clothes and uniforms that smelled of sweat and blood and held my breath to put them in the washing machine. God, guys, next time you train, use spandex… the smell of sweaty leather is AWFUL @[email protected] Plus when I took it out, I knew it would take days, if not weeks to dry, so wearing it again was definitely out of question for them ><

I smiled when I heard them both laugh and splash each other as if they were ten again. Before that, they knew no other way of washing than being hosed down against the wall with ice-cold water, so I guess having a bath was like going back in time for them, back to the time before they were kidnapped. However, when I entered the bathroom again with towels, the whole place was flooded and the bottles of soap still sealed on the counter. They turned at me, surprised. I walked towards them, and, without a word, as they shut their eyes in anticipation of a hit, I took a quick sniff of the top of their heads. Just as I thought: not only were their faces still dirty but their hair smelled heavily of smoke and gasoline as well. Angry, I took the bottle of shampoo and started with GD who wriggled and whined as I washed his head myself. GD, buddy, I thought we were friends T_T. He got up and tried to run away but was soon paralyzed by the shampoo that stung his eyes and blinded him due to his quick movements as I then brought him back to the tub by force and rinsed him with the head shower. I felt like I was grooming a wild dog D: ! Thank God, Taeyang was much more cooperative, although he kept avoiding my gaze and remained silent, even when I rubbed gently the shoulder I had slapped and said “Sorry”.

Seungri and Daesung were quite easy to handle as well. Although, when Daesung sat in the tub, he first remained immobile with his knees against his chest and his head low, not smiling at all. I guess he didn’t like it. But then, when I drew hotter water, he finally relaxed and sank a little more in the tub until only his upper head down to his nostrils were emerging as he closed his eyes and sighed in delight. On the other hand, as I then tried to take their clothes to wash them, Seungri kept calling me over and over every time, going “noona!” this, “noona!” that*, stretching his muscles like a bodybuilder or pushing Daesung’s head in the water to annoy him until Daesung sat up, his eyes shining with anger, pushed the younger’s head down and kept it underwater until he was waving his arms around, screaming in panic in tiny bubbles (thank you Daesung -.-).

*I guess “noona” means “look at me!” or something like that.

When the two of them were done, I realized the last one was Top. When I went to get him, he was sitting on a broken armchair in the living-room, looking like he had been waiting for me. I brought him to the bathroom and did my little explanation just like I did to the four others. Yet when I was done, he just stood there and, even after I explained him a second time, and a third time, he was still not moving an inch, still staring at me, still waiting. I thought he did not understand me which was weird seeing how he was the one with the most vocabulary. For a moment, his look reminded me a little of Beast. Unless, I thought, maybe he was just making a fool of me, pretending not to understand as an excuse to disobey me. If that was the case, he didn’t know that kind of behavior motivates me even more >:( ! I stared back at him, annoyed, then grabbed the hem of his shirt and lifted it above his head without a warning.

Then, as his arms were still in the sleeves of the shirt, I found myself surrounding him with my own arms and my face close to his chest. As we were paralyzed in this position, I felt the blood rise to my cheeks. However, I went on, took his shirt off completely and threw it to the ground. Then I went on with the belt of his pants. But as I unbuckled it, I couldn’t help but feel ill-at-ease as he kept staring down at me. I focused on my task and gazed at his skin. I’d been amazed and a little scared by the impressive numbers of scars on the boys’ bodies. Yet Top had the most: small, long, old, fresh, deep…; his whole torso looked like parchment, with his story written all over its surface. I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. It also looked slender and muscular, much more than Joseph’s. The more I looked at it, the more I could clearly feel the warmth of his body against my hands, especially since the water of the tub had long time cooled off. That’s when I realized I was locked up in a room alone with a young man I had been stripping, the both of us far away from Joseph. In the silence, I could hear both of our breathings almost synchronize. First mine, then his, then mine, then his, deeper, longer… When I raised my head, his face was suddenly barely inches from mine.

‘What the hell is wrong with you?’ A voice screamed in my head. ‘Snap out of it! Now!’

Yet we both stood there, frozen, and I felt my heart race when he leaned in, narrowing the gap between us more and more as we both kept our eyes open. The next second, water splashed loudly all over the place and my butt hit the bottom of the tub as I fell backwards with my eyes shut, suddenly drenched in ice-cold water and inhaling foam. When I tried to stand up and opened my eyes again, coughing and spitting soapy water, I was alone and Top had joined the boys in the living-room, fully dressed up. I knew it, I knew it, I knew it. I should have seen it coming that he would try to trick me again ><.

I kept glaring at him as I prepared lunch and felt even more upset when he didn’t even bother to turn his head at me. How dare he play with my emotions >< And how dare I fall for it so easily, for that matter? He’s not even that good looking (ok, actually he is, but it hadn’t struck me until now!), he’s just a brat with big black eyes! Plus since my social life had never been that exciting in college, I lack a lot of experience so that makes me quite gullible. However, as I kept looking for reasons and justifications to hide my shame and embarrassment behind, I was glad that the other boys helped me get everything ready: when I brought the dishes, the table was clean and set and they were all sitting around, waiting quietly. I was so glad to see them all so well-mannered I forgot why I was mad for a moment. Plus I was pretty proud of myself. I’ve never cooked Korean cuisine before and the result looked and smelled rather tasty :D ! I guess the boys agreed with me as, as soon as their plate was full, they started eating eagerly and soon nothing could be heard except the sound of spoons and chopsticks. Little by little, all the dishes were emptied and I could feel that none of them felt even half full.

I guess this is what you get when you cook for six for the first time, especially for five boys who lived with severe food-restrictions almost all their lives!

Meanwhile, since I had been thinking about Joseph, I thought about the situation. This was our first morning of freedom. Where were we all, us and them, since yesterday evening? What was Joseph doing right now? Was he looking for me? Had our not-so-sneaky escape from the lab broken the news yet? I shortly left the table and turned on my laptop to check: the event did hit the headlines of three of the four newspapers I checked, yet the three of them mentioned a “technical incident” with one of the machines that had been all under control. Of course it was! They did show a photo of me though, indicating that I was missing. At least, since the project was secret and illegal, I knew that neither the press nor the police would support Joseph in his investigation about the five boys. They would focus on me. My phone suddenly ringed. When I read the name, I felt my breath caught in my throat:

“JO-JO <3”

I let it ring, stunned, both of my hands suddenly paralyzed by the melody of the ringtone. It stopped abruptly after a few seconds and a short happy jingle then resonated in the air. I had one new message, from Joseph. My heart was pounding as I opened it:

“Hi, sweetie.

Are you busy? Do you miss me? Don’t worry, I WILL FIND YOU. I’ll do WHATEVER IT TAKES. Please come back, I know you need me. I want you and I WANT MY BOYS BACK. You know how much I hate people touching my things! I’LL FORGIVE YOU IF YOU COME BACK TO ME SOON.

I’ll be waiting, sweetheart <3,

Your Jo-Jo”

As I read it, my lips trembled silently. I knew for sure that he was definitely furious. His scripted message seemed to be coming straight from a serial killer of a horror movie. I could imagine the cold rage behind his warm smile as he typed it in front of the journalists and added the capital fonts and the little heart before he sent it to me. However, as I felt my heart pound, I gritted my teeth and took a deep breath. Now was not the time to panic. Who the heck did he think I was? His puppet? Not anymore. This time was over. If I started to freak out, the six of us were gone for sure. First, we needed to get out of there or the boys would go nuts, especially since I couldn’t leave them alone in this small apartment. Then, we needed a cover, starting with proper outfits for the five of them.

Speaking of which, as I was deep in my thoughts, one of them suddenly raised his head, then two, then three, and they all looked at each other with their mouth still full. I looked at them questioningly and they all jumped out of their seats and ran out of the room, covering their mouth with their hands. The last one, Daesung, ran towards the kitchen counter and threw up in the sink, pale and shaking. I looked at him then looked at my plate, worried. Thinking about it tonight, I still don’t know what happened today. Was something wrong with the food? Were the promoted articles I picked past their expiration date? I’m sure I’d cooked everything thoroughly though! Plus, although some of the stuff did taste funny because I’m no chef at all, I didn’t feel sick myself. And God knows how picky I am when it comes to eat stuff I don’t know!

When they all came back to their seats, staggering, their faces as white as sheets, I gave them a sheepish look as they sat down quietly with dead eyes and pushed their plates away from their chests.

“Sorry.” I said, hoping they knew the word by now. If I wanted to take them out, I needed them to trust me, which was not guaranteed if they thought I tried to poison them <:-/ !

Daesung and GD smiled weakly at me and the others just bowed their heads, breathing deeply to prevent themselves from puking again. Some of them had messed Joseph’s ugly shirts, adding new interesting colors to the mix.

Yeah, we definitely needed new clothes -.-

It’s getting late and I hear stomachs grumble, including mine. It’s time to get out of the bedroom and make dinner. I’ll be back soon.


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